May Sales Analysis: Full-Size Pickups
June 4th, 2010 4:43 PM Share
Ford and Chevy blew the lid off our 30k-unit graph limit… don’t count the big trucks out just yet.
Published June 4th, 2010 4:43 PM
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Tiredmechanic, according to what you said in your letter you mainly have 3/4 and 1 ton diesels in your fleet of trucks. So according to you the cummins diesel is more troublesome and more expensive on upkeep than the ford and gm diesels. That, my friend, is pretty far fetched. You go on to say that the trucks are heavily abused and worked very hard. Well are you aware that the reason ford did away with the navistar engine is because it was troublesome, especially when subjected to heavy use? They were prone to blowing head gaskets, and the cab has to be removed from the truck in order to gain access to some of the head bolts on the passenger side. The sight of super dutys in repair shops with the cab suspended by a lift was becoming fairly common. Yet you say that the ford and gm diesels are within 5% of each other as far as operating costs and upkeep go, and that the cummins is far more expensive to keep running and is less durable? I hardly think so. And it is highly doubtful that if you had mostly 3/4 and 1 ton dodge diesels that they commonly experienced failure of the differential bearings. All of the ram diesels and 1 ton and up gas and diesel trucks use the dana 60 and 70 series rear ends, which are the strongest axle assemblies ever made for trucks in this class, and they were used in many ford and gm trucks as well. The dodge 1500 and 2500 gas powere trucks use axle assemblies made by american axle manufacturing, previously owned by gm. This differential is actually a gm design, and was first used in their trucks. It is a pretty good design, with a low failuer rate, and there have not been any recent TSB'S on this design. The 518/618 transmission is actually a modified version of the legendary 727, and has been beefed over the years to cope with the torque output of the cummins. This is a good transmission, with no weak points, except the torque converter has been known to fail under extremely insane loads behind the cummins, but there are several aftermarket converters that address that issue. The factory unit rarely fails behind a hemi or behind a cummins unless extremely overworked. The 5 speed automatic used in the half tons is a mercedes unit, and is an excellent design. If you work the truck to the point that this trans fails then it's time to move up to a bigger truck. As far as working a truck hard goes, do you realize how heavy roofing shingles are?
I misspelled "failure" in the 5th paragraph, thought I would correct it.
I work for a roofing company too and have to say that our two 1996 Cummins Dodge 3500s are my least favorite vehicles in the fleet. All our trucks are one ton trucks: 2 Dodges, 6 Fords of various ages and a beat up 86 GMC (I am not including the International crane and dump truck, both of which I have never driven) The problem with the Dodges is a peaky turbo diesel combined with a vague and notchy 5 speed manual transmission. On the hills around Pittsburgh I have to redline the engine almost every time to keep within its narrow powerband. Sure, you can really feel the power of the turbo when it kicks in but it is a real pain trying to maintain revs with such a vague and slow shifting 5 speed manual. I much prefer driving the beat up 86 GMC with over 200,000 miles and the gasoline 350 v8. It would never beat the Dodge in a drag race but at least I can get it to shift quickly without loosing too many revs on a hill. It is MUCH less frustrating to drive. Another reason I prefer the old GMC over the Dodges and the other newer trucks is that the GMC is much lower to the ground. I am guessing but the GMC has to be at lease 6 inches lower. This makes a huge difference when you are tying things up on the ladder rack or trying to crawl up on the bed. As to reliability I would have to say that neither the Fords nor the Dodges have been especially reliable. Two of the Fords have spit out spark plugs. One of the Dodges has electrical problems while the other has had transmission problems. The old GMC smokes alot (but remember it has over 200,000 miles) the interior is total crap and it's slow but all things considered, it is much more enjoyable to drive and is easier to work out of. (The Cummins Diesel has the coolest exhaust note however)
DanT........the 80's 350 put out something like 285-300lbs. of torque when new. A worn out one that smokes would put out about half that much, and you say that it will outdo a diesel with a load, on pennsylvania hills?